Review: “The Retreat” on Holland America Eurodam – Onboard Private Cabana Rentals

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a deck with chairs and a mirror

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A majority of my cruises on my favorite cruise line NCL or Norwegian have been in either “The Haven” or in a suite with a large balcony. The few times I have not had one I have tried to book a ship with “Vibe Beach Club” that is, a private upcharge space that results in avoiding the masses onboard.

a cruise ship with a large body of water

When I learned that Holland America (HAL) has a similar space for rent my “free” cruise became more expensive again (I had already paid to upgrade to rear balcony from an inside cabin). Thankfully there were open cabanas available.

a deck with chairs and a boat

a deck with lounge chairs and a deck chair on a cruise ship

Depending on the size of your HAL ship you may or may not have a hot tub in The Retreat but all of them will offer both sun space as well as your own shaded cabana.

a deck with chairs and tables on a cruise ship

a deck with chairs and umbrellas on a sunny day

Also expect ice cold water as well as tea and coffee plus a shower to cool off and fresh towels. During our sailing the cabana boys were a bit slow to refresh the towels but if you needed one all you had to do was ask and they were quick to provide new ones for you.

a deck with chairs and a view of the ocean

a table and chairs on a deck overlooking a body of water

There are two types of cabanas – Large 4 person corner units – and the rest are two person. Some love the ones on the side of the ship for the view while the aft facing ones allow for better air flow on hot sea days. I would have preferred a corner unit or sea view but they were all gone by the time I learned about these rentals.

a room with a table and chairs

a person's feet on a deck overlooking a river

Even so we were not disappointed as we had a wonderful area to chill out of the sun when we wanted it and were able to pop out to a sun chair when we wanted to work on our tan. One of the only few negatives about the space was, as is always the case on ships, that the floors do get VERY hot during the day and even walking to the shower was painful without sandals on.

a menu of a restaurant

Breakfast and lunch are available up in The Retreat but be aware what basically happens is the cabana boys (sometimes gals) just go down to the buffet and fill your order (from behind the scenes not in line with guests). That said if you want something like a burger or another item not on the buffet they will go get it for you.

a bowl of fruit and a plate of grapes

a plate of fruit and vegetables on a table with two champagne glasses

In addition to food service the staff is happy to keep you happy with bar service (on the Eurodam there is one very close on the same floor) as well as cool bottled water and ice plus fresh-ish fruit and in the afternoon free sparkling wine and more fruit treats.

Overall this is, to me, absolutely worth the price to book and before I ever book another HAL cruise I will first call to check if space is open. That number by the way is 800-541-1576. The Retreat two person cabanas run about $50 per day. If you rent for the length of your cruise you may pay a bit less and if you only rent for a few sea days you will pay more. The corner four person units also cost a bit more.

a deck of a cruise ship

There are also pool side cabanas for even less if you like being near and in and out of the pool during your voyage but these are not nearly as private and exclusive feeling as The Retreat area. Also keep in mind the staff serving you are NOT included in the daily tip / service charge you pay onboard so if you do get great service consider a tip of around $5-10 per day.

Have you booked The Retreat before? Were you as impressed as we were? – René

Related: A YouTube review of The Retreat is below

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